We’ve all heard of the terrible two’s. When your 2 year old throws a leg stamping, arm waving, full-pitched temper tantrum of such ferocity that even as their mother you’re a bit scared they might explode. It usually starts with the most seemingly mundane thing that gets blown out of all proportion. They don’t care where they are – in fact the busier the place the better – to get maximum coverage. A supermarket is ideal or even better a library, where you’re sure to be surrounded by the most judgmental people you can pack in the smallest space. Yes, we’ve all been there – but have you heard of the Shocking six’s? It bears cunningly similar characteristics to the temper tantrum of the Terrible Two year old, but it’s shocking because it’s your six year old for god sake and haven’t we already been here? My six year old demonstrated the other day, he is more than happy to go back. It started with the choosing of an ice-cream flavour.
We were on the way home from school when I suggested we pop into Tesco’s to get a pudding – in an all too frequent moment of ‘sod the diet.’ I’d already decided the main event was to be apple crumble but I said the boys could choose the ice cream flavour. Bigger boy broke into a long monologue of what his favourite flavour was, what flavours might possibly be waiting for him in Tesco’s and the fantasy flavours he’d create if he owned an ice cream van. Then Littler boy piped up in imitation of his bigger brother and added his thoughts on ice cream. ‘You’re a rude stinky bum, I was talking first!’ Bigger boy scorned. ‘Actually’ I said, irritably, ‘you’ve been talking for a long time. Let your little brother have his say.’ But Bigger boy wouldn’t, he’d got one on him. Maybe it was ‘the after-school attitude’ he sometimes brings home – where he is extremely disagreeable and bolshy. I excuse it most days ‘Oh he’s just tired’ or ‘he’s hungry,’ but not today, it was just plain rude!
He continued arguing his point until we were stood in the ice cream isle. ‘Right well you can help choose if you can tell me what you would do differently about letting your little brother have his say,’ I offered in an attempt at reconciliation. He refused point blank to compromise and continued to insist he was right. Losing my patience, through clenched jaws, I managed to whisper, ‘Okay your little brother will choose the flavour and you’ll be lucky if you get any ice cream at all!’
I hoped this threat would do the trick and he’d of exhausted his temper by now. I was wrong. He flung himself at the floor and screamed as if his heart was being broken in a full temper tantrum. At first I tried to calm him down, then I tried to ignore him, but nothing would work. So I took Littler boy’s hand – who had become Perfect Peter to his bigger brother’s Horrid Henry and made for the checkout. Seeing his audience deserting him he raced after us and stood at the checkout his temper tantrum in full swing, screaming at me, about how unfair I was and how he hated me, while everyone watched, whispered and pointed as I sweatily packed my purchases. Bigger boy fought me all the way to the car and I was buckling Littler boy into his car-seat when Bigger boy escaped and ran back into Tesco’s. So I had to lock the car and get after him.
Toddler temper tantrums are all very well because you can pick them up and forcibly remove them, but you can’t with a six year old – they are much stronger. Grabbing his hand I maneuvered him into the car and forced his seat belt on. Moments later he took it off so I had to pull over. When we eventually made it home, Bigger boy stormed out of the car his temper tantrum still in full swing and marched into the house, as if he was the wronged party. Needless to say he went straight into time out and he didn’t get any ice-cream until much later in the day.
These are the temper tantrum antics of the Shocking Six’s, full of irritation, anger and frustration on both sides – all because they can’t have their own way.
Has your child been through the Shocking Six’s or are they going through them? Do you, like me, wonder if it’s your child regressing or if you are just becoming more intolerant of temper tantrums?